Sulfate ions have many purposes in the body. They are key components in connective tissue like cartilage and in mucous. They are also used to detoxify many substances, including adrenal and thyroid hormones, salicylates, food additives, many drugs and environmental toxins.
Increasing sulfation after it has been impaired for a long time can create a detox reaction
Reasons to Suspect
People low in sulfate are likely to react to salicylates, food colors and other additives. They might have arthritis or crackly joints. People sensitive to sulfur foods (especially eggs) are likely low in sulfate because they have trouble producing it from sulfites, and people who crave sulfur foods likely have an increased need for sulfate.
Dietary sulfur is broken down into sulfite. Sulfite is converted into sulfate by the sulfoxidation process. This requires molybdenum and vitamin B6. Too much of either can inhiit the process, however.
Supplements include N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), MSM, and taurine. NAC is generally used more to increase glutathione levels. MSM is a common sulfur supplement, but requires the sulfoxidation process to be working well. Taurine uses a different pathway. Epsom salt baths are also a good source of pre-made sulfate. Sulfate isn't absorbed well in the gut.